Why Rent Textbooks?
Fundamental Principles of Molecular Biology, 11th Edition Revised. If that sounds like a book you'd like to pay $200 for brand new, use for a semester, and then get no money back for at the end of the term because the 12th edition will be out soon, you should probably buy a copy from your campus bookstore. Just think how much fun it will be to wait in line in a crowded bookstore, drop hundreds of dollars, use the book for a few chapters, get nothing back for it, and then have to lug around the outdated book every time you move. What student wouldn't love that?
If, on the other hand, you'd rather pay less (often much less) to use the book rather than own it, consider renting instead of purchasing. You'll also be doing a good deed for your fellow students and the environment.
The Benefits of Renting Textbooks:
On average, students enjoy savings of 50% to 85% over new or used for-sale equivalents.
Sometimes the savings goes even higher, but it varies. See for yourself by searching for a particular book.
Rental companies charge for the duration of the rental and offer choices regarding that duration.
This definitely beats buying where the price is the same for students who use the book for 60 days as it is for students who use it for 130 days. Renting lets you pay for what you use, no more.
Rental textbooks are ordered quickly and securely online and delivered straight to your door, dorm, or campus mailbox.
There is no waiting in long lines during rush at the beginning of the semester and no waiting in line hoping to sell your book back (for what may be pennies on the dollar) at the end of the term.
If you like to interact with the text, that's cool.
Most rental companies allow you to highlight or underline or even take some notes in a book (within reason). Rules vary so check each company's policy.
Renting books is about paying to borrow and return for reuse.
This means that you should take care of them as if they were your own and return them in the condition in which you would want to receive them.
Renting is an eco-friendly choice.
It's estimated that the amount of books, paper, and trees used to make the textbooks used by a single college student over 4 years total 69.2 books or 49,478 pages, which in turn totals 5.9 40-foot dead trees.* Renting textbooks is about reusing them and keeping them in circulation; this can drastically diminish those consumption figures. And who wouldn't want to contribute to that noble cause?
* Statistics according to CafeScribe.